“Return to your trailer now.”

July 25th, 2006 by Editor B

This is the most utterly outrageous thing I’ve read in a while:

FEMA does not allow the media to speak alone to residents in their trailers.

“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” Rodi said. “That’s just a policy.”

I think that policy is called fascism.

This is so utterly beyond the pale that I’m having a hard time believing it’s even true. Part of me clings to the idea that this is some horrible mistake. If it is true, it is so grossly offensive that I hardly know what to say. If you lose your home in a disaster, do you also lose your First Amendment rights? You have to have a government agent monitor your conversations with the press? How can freedom-loving Americans allow this policy to stand?

I’ve got a video camera. I produce a TV show. I live next to a FEMA trailer site. I may have to put this policy to the test…

Hat tip: Humid City

Update: FEMA responds, FAIR critiques response (thanx, agitcorp)

8 Responses to ““Return to your trailer now.””

  1. Lou C Says:

    This is ridiculous. It took FEMA months to get people into trailers. Response was slow as molasses! What do you think their response rate be to get over to an interview with the media at someone’s trailer? Pleeez…it’s just not possible.

  2. Sophmom Says:

    Unbelievable. I’m trying to picture this in action. I’m wondering if every journalist has his/her own FEMA representative watching closely to see when/if they start moving towards a FEMA trailer with the intention of interviewing. OR, maybe every FEMA trailer has a hidden Journalist Alert System installed. I think you should go try to interview a FEMA trailer resident without your assigned FEMA representative.

    Wait. What if a journalist actually lived in a FEMA trailer? Would they be required to have a FEMA representative present at all times, in the event that they might begin to interview themselves.

    The whole thing is illegal nonsense, but not particularly surprising. I call Bullshit. Shame on them.

  3. Maitri Says:

    This was posted to the New Orleans LJ community on July 22nd and there is a good bit of discussion there: http://community.livejournal.com/neworleans/2295495.html

    Read the comments – they are interesting and informative.

    The legality of questioning people on “federal” land is not quite clear.

  4. scout prime Says:

    At first I thought this was Guards Gone Wild but then you have a FEMA rep saying it is policy. Putting it to the test would be interesting though.

  5. Editor B Says:

    If blogspot.com supported pings, you’d see a link to Your Right Hand Thief right about here. Hey, Oyster, did you ever think about moving to wordpress.com? Highly recommended!

  6. Loki Says:

    Let me know when you want to go videotaping. I think there should be several of us as well as witnesses just in case. Besides, I want to do some audiocasts….

  7. Jeff Elbo Says:

    do it b!

  8. Ian Says:

    Too late B.

    FEMA just lifted the trailer park media fascism. FEMA LA guy, James Stark says, by way of the AP, “the restrictive policy had probably stemmed from an effort to protect privacy. He said the policy was changed after it was reviewed in the last few days by FEMA officials.”

    Ah yes.. the protection of secrets… er, privacy. Always a worthwile excuse.

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